Hooray! Another installment of Hindsight is 20/20. I’m not going to lie… I’m pretty excited about this series and all the things I want to share. In the meantime, enjoy tip #2 and this HILARIOUS picture of me shooting from a wedding last Fall. Apparently sitting on an invisible chair (don’t ask me why I’m standing this way). Hey…. whatever it takes! Image shot by my amazing second shooter, Laura B.
Tip #2: Keep moving.
And by that, of course, I don’t mean getting all fidgety. Picture it in your mind for just a moment. You have a bride and groom looking positively stunning. The sun is shining bright in the sky and you are shooting in the most gorgeous landscaped gardens. You pick out a beautiful tree for them to stand beneath but then, as you stand back to shoot it, you realize something isn’t quite right. It’s the light. Or no, maybe it’s the way they are posed. Hmmm, no, perhaps it’s the angle. You keep looking at the back of your camera…. keep trying to make it work BUT YOU CANNOT FOR-THE-LIFE-OF-YOU FIGURE OUT WHAT ISN’T WORKING.
Any photographer – particularly in their early days – has experienced this phenomenon. It’s this weird moment where you feel like what you are seeing in person isn’t translating just so. You obsess. You keep trying to fix it…. to get that dream shot. The one you see in your mind… you’re so close. STOP. Just stop it.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with a little tweaking – and it’s absolutely necessary when you step back and see weird shadowing, or awkward hand placement – which sometimes you just can’t see until you see the whole thing. But, there is a fine line between that and forcing something that isn’t working.
I once worked with someone who would set up a group of groomsmen, take the shot, look at the back of her camera, and say “hmmmm no, that doesn’t look right… let’s try this [insert new positioning] instead.” Take 8 nice groomsmen standing in full tuxes, outside, in the middle of August, and do this to them? You end up with 8 very (sweaty) angry groomsmen. So upset, in fact, that they came up to me later and complained about the situation. If she had just kept moving, they wouldn’t have felt like they were wasting their time and she would have easily gotten plenty of other great shots before the sweat was dripping from their faces.
Truly though, put yourself in the shoes of your client. How do you think handling this situation makes them feel? Suddenly, your comfortable, happy couple is sitting here thinking – are we doing something wrong? Should we move? Should we not move? WHAT IS GOING ON?
So, my best advice for these moments? Just keep moving. If it isn’t working, just snap a couple and move on to something else. Don’t waste your time making your subject feel inadequate and frustrating yourself. And – for the love of all things – do not EVER look at the back of your camera and say “hmmmm, no” after you take the shot. Don’t even THINK it. Just trust me on this. You can thank me later. And, rest assured, that these “!?&%#@*” moments will become much less frequent (even eventually stopping altogether) the more you shoot and more comfortable you get working in different lighting/environment situations. Happy shooting, my friends!
For full explanation of the Hindsight is 20/20 series, please check the archives and see this post.